There are only two more dress rehearsals for the New York Giants before the curtain opens on the 2015 season.
Overall, the Giants’ grade is an incomplete after defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars at home last Saturday by 22-12. The next assessment will be against the Jets Saturday night (7:30 p.m.) at MetLife Stadium. The Giants will conclude their preseason schedule versus the New England Patriots on the road Sept. 3.
“I think we improved a little bit tonight; nothing earthshaking, but we did get a little bit better,” said head coach Tom Coughlin after defeating Jacksonville. “We’re going to have to get a lot better.”
Players on the bubble aspiring to make the team’s 53-man roster still have time to make an impression on Coughlin and his staff. Maybe one of the promising youngsters, perhaps rookie defensive end Owa Odighizuwa, a third-round pick from UCLA, will emerge as the next Osi Umenyiora.
The once little-known, second-round pick from Troy University played for the Giants from 2003 to 2012 and crafted a stellar career as a two-time Super Bowl champion, two-time All-Pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection operating alongside Hall of Famer Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck on a ferocious defensive line.
The Giants signed the 33-year-old Umenyiora to a ceremonial one-day contract and hosted a press conference yesterday (Wednesday), at which he officially announced his retirement. Coughlin wishes he could clone Umenyiora, Art Shell and Ronnie Lott to fill holes in the defensive line, a coalescing offensive line and safety positions, as all three components have been sources of concern throughout the preseason.
Wide receiver Victor Cruz’s ongoing recovery from a ruptured patella tendon and a strained calf – his most recent injury – is also worrisome.
As of today, too many variables and unknowns remain for a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since winning the Super Bowl to end the 2011 season.